Passengers are urged to plan ahead when travelling over the bank holiday weekend as Network Rail carries out major infrastructure improvements in south London, Kent and Sussex.
The vital improvements on the South East route are part of Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan with 9,600 engineers working around the clock across Britain over the weekend to provide more reliable infrastructure, improved facilities and better services for passengers.
As a result, there are changes to normal services on some routes, so passengers should plan ahead before travelling.
John Halsall, Network Rail’s South East route managing director, said: “Hundreds of rail workers across the region will be working around the clock over the long weekend to provide vital upgrades that will give passengers more reliable and more comfortable journeys.
“We recognise that closing the railway has a huge impact for passengers, which is why we’ve planned the work over the four-day bank holiday weekend, when the railway is much quieter than usual.
“These maintenance and upgrade works are absolutely essential to keep the railway safe for the millions of people who use it each year, so I would like to thank passengers for their patience and understanding and encourage them to plan ahead before travelling.”
Southeastern train services director Ellie Burrows added: “As part of our engineering and upgrade works over the bank holiday there will be a number of alterations to our services. I would like to thank our passengers for their understanding and patience during this time and to ensure they check on our website before embarking upon their journey.”
The major projects on the South East route include:
- Vital track upgrades on the approach to London Victoria station, which is one of the busiest sections of railway in the country. Engineers will replace old switches and crossings – the moveable sections of track that guide trains from one track to another – with modern, more reliable equipment. The work means Southeastern’s London Victoria services will be diverted to run to and from London Blackfriars on Saturday 25, Sunday 26 and Monday 27 August.
- More work inside the Sevenoaks tunnel as part of Network Rail’s ongoing £300m South East reliability programme. Engineers will lay new track after the completion of drainage improvements earlier this year. It means rail replacements buses will operate between Sevenoaks and Tonbridge on Saturday 25, Sunday 26 and Monday 27 August with Southeastern rerouting two trains every hour via Redhill.
- The High Output Ballast Cleaner (video of machine in action here) will also be operating in Kent between Shortlands and Swanley. The state-of-the-art train helps prevent speed restrictions because of bumpy or uneven track. Services will still be running.
- A larger piece of work is also taking place between Lewes and Seaford in East Sussex, with the line closed for ten days from Saturday, 18 until Tuesday, 28 August. Network Rail engineers are replacing all signalling equipment with new, more reliable technology as part of a £20m signalling upgrade due for completion in 2019. Govia Thameslink will provide buses to replace trains between Lewes and Seaford for this period.
A breakdown of how some journeys will be affected can be found by visiting www.nationalrail.co.uk/August and following #AugustBHWorks on Twitter.